By Sandra Gonzalez
February 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM EST

At the risk of dating myself, I’ll only say that I was pretty young when The Bodyguard was first released. But I still remember the first time I watched it.

It was late one night during a family vacation to Las Vegas when my parents decided to pull the movie up on Pay-Per-View to unwind after a day of no-doubt hectic family fun. I can only assume they thought I’d tune out the film or join my sisters in slumber since the film was wildly age inappropriate at the time. (Then again, my parents were never strict about that sort of thing.) Instead, though, I remember sitting down right next to my dad and sitting through the entire movie, mesmerized by the guy who used a knife to slice an apple without a cutting board (“Don’t ever try that.” — mom)  — and most of all, the music. That woman had a lovely voice. I wanted to hear her sing over and over again.

That woman died this past weekend. When I heard the news that Whitney Houston had been found dead, I was shocked — like everyone else. Stunned silent, really. But most of all, I was instantly taken back to that hotel room many, many years ago with my parents and hearing her voice for the very first time. I remember thinking that I’d never see another movie I loved as much as this one ever again because the songs were so beautiful. In fact, it made me want to see more “grown-up” movies, I told my mom. Were they all that good? (Nope.) Did they all have ladies who sang like that? (Nope, again.) Until the night my nutty parents chose to screen questionable programming, I’d never heard someone sing in a movie like Whitney Houston sang in The Bodyguard. (Hilarious fact: I watched The Bodyguard before I watched The Sound of Music. How warped is that? But I wouldn’t have it any other way.)

The movie went on to gross $410.9 million worldwide and had one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time. I didn’t know any of that as a kid — nor would I have particularly cared. All I knew was that I loved the movie, I loved the songs — I loved her (and the gold shiny outfit she danced in).

Whitney Houston — and The Bodyguard — made me love the special relationship between movies and music and the wonderful things that result when the two work in harmony. And I’m so thankful to have developed that appreciation at such a young age. So I’ll be watching (for the hundredth time!) tonight when the movie re-airs on the Lifetime network and feel nothing but joy and thanks.

What about you, PopWatchers? Share your memories of the movie and feel free to watch it together below!

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